State Champs – O2 Institute, Birmingham 17/03/17

Could this be the best pop punk tour of the year? State Champs set out to make sure it was. Coming to the end of a huge European tour, with eight dates in the UK, they were ready to prove that pop punk isn’t dead.

Northbound were first to brace the Birmingham crowd. They had a similar sound to the other bands on stage that night which made them a hit with the crowd. Although they were unknown by the majority of people watching they appeared to be having fun on stage and tried their best to get everyone involved. Despite a not entirely enthusiastic response from the crowd the band’s energy ensured they were a good, solid support act.

As It Is took to the stage next. Off the back of their recently released album Okay, the Brighton band were ready to give it their all. Frontman Patty Walters took full advantage of the big stage and large crowd – barely stopping for breaths as he bounded around, trying to engage everyone. The band’s energy is contagious. Rarely do you see a band as lively as these guys. The crowd seemed to love the performance, being able to scream every word back at the stage.

Catering for all fans, they played many old songs mixed in with the more mature sounding ones from the new album. On record the majority of the vocals come from lead singer Patty, however on stage guitarist Ben’s vocals are much more dominant. His vocals combined in with Patty’s energy make for an exciting pop punk performance from this band. They are definitely a band to look out for in the future!

After a top performance from the two support bands, the crowd were eager for the main event. New York band State Champs had a lot to live up to after the performance from As It Is but they had nothing to worry about and their high tempo songs had everyone singing along. At the start of the set the band played songs including Losing Myself and Eyes Closed. It was clear that they were having fun on stage, and smiles at each other during songs along with banter between songs made the show personal. The large venue felt homely, almost like they were playing at a sweaty house party.

Taking a break in the middle of the set to slow things down, lead singer Derek Discanio played Stick Around and If I’m Lucky with little backing from the other members. Phone torches rose from the crowd as they too took this opportunity to get their breath back. With the band kicking back in towards the end of the second of these slow songs they begin to build the pace ready to play hits including Simple Existence and Elevated before an encore of Deadly Conversation and Secrets. States Champs performance was incredible and got the reaction it deserved from the crowd. The band’s incredible live performance proved that pop punk music is very much still alive. If you want to catch them, they return to the UK for Download Festival in June!

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